‘Wasn’t trying to hurt nobody’
The National League won all but one of the All-Star Games that Rose participated in. But he thought everything began to change in 1970. After the previous season, Giles had retired, with Chub Feeney taking his place. Before the All-Star Game held at Rose’s home ballpark in Cincinnati, players waited in the NL clubhouse for their yearly pep talk, but this time it never came.
“We were all sitting there like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ ” Rose said.
Out the NL went anyway, channeling the same passion Giles had delivered for many seasons, and the NL tied the score 4-4 with three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. In the bottom of the 12th, Rose hit the first of three NL singles in the inning, and he headed for home on the third. AL catcher Ray Fosse got the throw from center fielder Amos Otis in time to tag Rose, but the Reds star bowled him over, Fosse dropped the ball, and the NL won 5-4.
Both players were injured. Rose has signed countless photos of that moment. Despite making the All-Star Game the following season, Fosse has long claimed that his career was never the same after that hit because of the damage to his right shoulder.
“I wasn’t trying to hurt nobody,” Rose said. “I was trying to be safe. ... Nobody wants it, but we were happy we won the game.”
The end of his run
At the Metrodome in ’85, he remembered the way Aaron and Mays had ushered him into the All-Star club 20 years prior. That year, pitchers Darling and Reardon, along with five other NL players, were first-time All-Stars.
“When you’re a young player, all you want is for people to make you feel you belong,” Rose said. “I tried to do the same thing.”
Rose pinch-hit in the eighth inning that day, grounding out to second. That was his last All-Star at-bat.
That September, he broke Ty Cobb’s record with his 4,192nd hit. A year later, Rose retired from playing. Most know the story line that follows.
The Cincinnati native managed the Reds for most of five years before being banned for life on Aug. 23, 1989, for betting on baseball. Rose, who denied the charges for years before eventually confessing, remains banned from his sport and its Hall of Fame.
A different game
Watching from afar — he resides in Las Vegas now, where he makes a living on endorsement deals and autograph shows — Rose sees a big change in the All-Star Game, an event that had always been a big source of pride for him.
Now, it’s not uncommon for players to eschew playing in an All-Star Game, and many players get only a few innings of work before getting in their rest. The excitement of one league facing off against the other’s stars has dwindled with the expansion of interleague play.
“I’m not blaming the players,” Rose said. “We’re not trying to prove now that the National League is better than the American League. That thing is gone.
“But it’s kind of sad to me. ... I think guys should have the attitude of if you make an All-Star team in your league, it’s an honor. It should be an honor to represent your league.”